THE ULTIMATE BLOG ON ALL THINGS HR
& THEN SOME
& THEN SOME
Have you ever applied to a job—even interviewed—only to never hear from the employer again? Have you been offered a job but quietly slinked away without responding, like Homer Simpson disappearing into the bush? Do you ignore calls from potential employers?
Ghosting is a phenomenon that has expanded its reference from romantic relationships and friendships. It is now a part of a job seeker’s misery and a recruiter’s nightmare. Is it a generational issue? Has Covid-19 affected our manners? Do people in general just not care? Or are they too chicken to man up and decline the job or reject a candidate?
For the past five months I have been working as a contract recruiter. Most of the positions are frontline, super essential, and require no experience. But guess what? They have been some of the hardest to fill. I have been wracking my brain for out-of-the-box methods to recruit. I just attended a speed interviewing event hosted by the State. I’ve driven around local communities, popping into local businesses to ask if I can post or leave a flyer about our jobs or hiring event. I have even emailed churches! Why? Folks aren’t answering their phones or returning phone calls. THey're not showing up to our hiring events. Or they don’t want to work the overnight shift. And sometimes they prefer to have a life and not work 12-hour shifts. I get it.
But for those who are too lazy to pick up the phone or return a call, I’d love to know why. I mean, it took time to fill out our short application. Obviously searching out jobs, 85% of our candidates indicate they found us on Indeed. So is it to meet the weekly quota to collect unemployment? Let me be honest here: this is what us recruiters believe. “Nobody wants to work. Everybody wants to stay home and watch streaming TV. This person isn’t remotely qualified for the job.”
On the flip side, jobseekers are receiving zero feedback from employers—not even a canned “Thanks for applying” email. If a candidate took the time to submit their information to our company for an open position, you’d better believe I’m going to take the time to review their information. Does not matter if they meet the skills set or not. Besides, you never know what gold you may find. It may be work experience paralleling that hard-to-fill maintenance position.
Here’s the fun part for all recruiters and hiring managers: Candidate A looks superb on paper but interviews horribly while Candidate B looks terrible on paper but interviews like a rockstar. This is why I don’t always reject Candidate B or assume Candidate A fits the bill. I will reach out and screen candidates who just might be the best hire in the history of recruiting.
So when I phone screen a candidate, I am upfront about important aspects of work, like overtime and the varying temperatures in the work environment. Why wouldn’t I be? Honesty is always the best policy. And it’s not like they’re not going to find out once they start working. I believe wholeheartedly in the candidate experience. It sets the tone for enjoyment in their employment.
In this job market, attraction and retention are key. I started believing a couple years ago that the candidate experience begins before they even apply. They have to be sold on a position AND the company to spend time creating a profile in the applicant tracking system and uploading their resume. With the dizzying amount of bonuses being offered today, candidates are comparing compensation and boning up on benefits. They are savvy, asking tough questions, as they should be. They aren’t just taking the first offer they receive.
So in my recruitment experience, what clinches the deal seems to be the initial phone conversation (followed by consistent communication during the hiring process). This conversation is when I let my light shine as a recruiter. I bust out my authentic self and engage, engage, engage. I don’t just power through the same standard questions with monotonic flatness. I infuse my personality and my curiosity kicks in, because I want to “see” if their personality joins in and whether they ask questions. If they are engaged also, I know am building a connection with them. And that bodes well.
But, lately it’s been nightmarish. Sometimes a candidate is gung-ho, they accept the job, and fill out the background check profile with lightning speed. Then we wait, and wait, and wait…only to find out they’ve robbed a bank within the past seven years. Or maybe they’ve tested positive for crack cocaine. And I think to yourself, “Well, I didn’t see THAT coming. It was going so well.”
Because one of my five strengths is achiever AND I have been my authentic self, I take it personally when a candidate ghosts me. Or, if after a week they still have not accepted the offer, I call and they don’t answer or return my call. I am crushed. I am crushed because I have expended energy and invested myself in them becoming our newest employee. The ones that hurt the most are the ones who enthusiastically told me they were excited to come onboard, only to be ghosted by them.
When the shoe is on the other foot and you have interviewed multiple candidates, reach out to those not selected and let them know why. Be honest. It may be what catapults them into a successful interview with the next company. And guess what? They may be more likely to recommend your company to a friend or family member.
Let’s take a page from Casper’s book and be kind to one another. Jobseekers, answer those phone calls and decline those job offers. Recruiters, give some respect to jobseekers and tell them if they’re not a good fit. Even if it’s through a panned, “Thanks, but no, thanks” email. Leaving a person hanging just isn’t right. Don’t ghost. Instead, own up and move on to the next candidate or company.
Creator: That makes me sound all powerful. I suppose I am in many ways. Hi! My name's Amy and I've been practicing HR for twelve years now. No big deal. I am here to offer fresh perspective on HR topics and topics about the world we live in and life in general.